USA: Seasons of Friendship

USA: Seasons of Friendship

I have relationships on the brain. I think many Americans do. In the aftermath of a highly contentious election, I observe people from all sides publicly and privately sorting through the complex ways this political cycle has affected their relationships. It got me thinking further about the mindset I bring to my own interactions.

As a child, I was incredibly sensitive with an overwhelming need to be liked and included. I would often take things personally and want to find the path to acceptance with everybody. Through the years, I learned that we are drawn naturally into friendships with some people, and less so with others. I also learned that there are people who most likely will never be your friend. The key to that sentence is “most likely.”

There was a time when the open-ended implications of “most likely” would stress me out. I like things tidy and compartmentalized. If it isn’t working, I want closure. I prefer to know where I stand with someone. However, relationships are a two-way street, and I can only drive the car in my lane. Plus my need for definitive boundaries does not supersede the natural fluidity of relationships over time nor does it allow room for change. Real life relationships are layered, and two people may connect on one level but completely miss on another. And the more time people have together, the more intricate it can become.

These days, I am finding freedom in allowing relationships to come and go, wax and wane, without feeling the need to define the who/what/why. There are friends whom I cherish that I haven’t seen in years, and there are people whom I would love to get to know better. I am always intending to schedule time with these folks, yet life gets in the way. Putting in effort is important, but I am accepting that just because things aren’t happening now doesn’t mean they won’t happen again someday.

Then there are the people with whom I share messy and contentious experiences, and we aren’t as close as we once were. There are also those I intentionally walked away from to escape toxicity. These packed the biggest punch for me personally, and I still mourn each break.

Rather than beating myself up or blaming someone else, though, I am recognizing that there are seasons to all relationships that don’t have to have a definitive beginning or end. I want to allow the distance, the dissonance, or the lost time to be what it is and doors to remain open for whatever the future holds while I try to grow from each experience and gain new perspective.

This really hit home for me after touching base with someone with whom I share a tumultuous history. We have had moments when I think there will be no reconnection, and then life circumstances come along to bring us back together in a meaningful way. It seems new phases bring possibilities for relationships to be reborn or evolve. Not all will, of course, but you never know.

This may sound incredibly obvious to most, but it takes practice for me, especially as I watch things play out for my children. I have seen friends come in and out of their lives, and I have witnessed situations that make me hurt for them. We have discussed how it’s OK to have different seasons for their relationships. Maybe connections need time to be rekindled, or maybe things will always have a hard limit because that is the healthiest choice. But there have been some rocky starts that have turned into great relationships as all parties have matured, and a big part of this is due to the forgiving nature of children and the willingness to start again.

In the effort to build up a child who has suffered a broken friendship, it seems easiest to say ,“It’s their loss”, or, “Who needs them?” Sometimes, we as adults do this too. But the reality is that paths often cross again. Maybe nothing will bear fruit, but what if it does? If we are open to new beginnings or willing to go back to old conversations with a fresh perspective, perhaps those relationships can grow again. And if they don’t, we can allow things to play out without cynicism knowing spring will come again someday with someone else.

How do you navigate changing relationships in your life? How do you help your children do the same?

This has been an original post for World Moms Network by Tara B. Photo credit: Chalky Lives. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Tara Bergman (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!

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INDONESIA: What You Didn’t Know About the #WorldMoms

INDONESIA: What You Didn’t Know About the #WorldMoms

WMB 2015 Singapore Meet Up

There they were…

I walked up to them with a big smile on my face, feeling all excited.
I’m sorry I got lost!

I gave Ruth a big hug. She smiled the most genuine smile and said it’s fine. Susan was next. We hugged as if we’ve met before.

From afar, it may have looked like we were a bunch of women who were just catching up.

These two ladies, who had such big smiles, were so warm and welcoming.  Sophie, Susan’s little girl, was a little gem.  She brightened up our whole time together.

The truth is, I had never met them before.

Well, not in person, until that late June day where I was en-route to see my fiancé, and I had a long layover  in Singapore.

Indonesia to Singapore is not that far, only a short flight away, but it was the first time I got to meet Ruth Wong and Susan Koh, my fellow contributors at World Moms Blog. They warmly welcomed me to Singapore and even made their way to meet me at the airport. It was truly amazing to experience meeting them for the first time.

Without a doubt, the one thing that brought us together there that day was…World Moms Blog.

It was sometime in 2011 when I decided to email World Moms Blog and ask if they would be interested to have a new writer from Jakarta, Indonesia. Jen replied excitedly and, as they say, the rest is history. World Moms Blog was the first international website I dared to write for.

Ruth and I have been working closely together for the past couple of years to organize World Moms Blog’s behind-the-scenes secret santa for our contributors or what we call “Fairy Moms”.  Working on this project helped me get to know her better and was a fun way to get to know more of the World Moms.

And connecting with Susan led to our discussions on my issue with uterine fibroids. From her, I learned about the surgery options and the recovery period.

World Moms Blog has given me so much.

Not just a platform to allow myself to be a better writer, it has brought in friends from many different parts of the world. From New Zealand (Karyn) to Canada (Kirsten) to South Africa (Simona) and India (Purnima), to name just a few! Many of us are actively in touch behind the scenes of the site, and maybe that is not very known. World Moms Blog made the world a little smaller for me and has allowed some great friendships to blossom among its global contributors.

The time in which I really needed my fellow World Moms was the period just before and during when I came out publicly about my childhood sexual abuse.  My friends at World Moms Blog were there, lending me their love and support at a time when I needed the most. This amazing group of mothers has become a tremendous support system for me.

Witnessing how much World Moms Blog has grown over the years and seeing the social impact that these women have brought into the world — from covering stories about child workers in Morocco to the Chibok girls of Nigeria who were captured, I can only say how proud I am to be a part of this amazing network of women.

I need them. The world needs more of this unique love and support across geographical, cultural, religious and political divides. I am proud to write at World Moms Blog. I am proud of what we are accomplishing together.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor, Maureen Hitipeuw of Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Photo credit to the author. 


Founder of Single Moms Indonesia, community leader and builder. Deeply passionate about women empowerment.

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